Select Page

If you purchased the maximum amount of a home that a lender will finance for you, that could mean that 30% of your income every month goes directly to your home. You could accrue substantial equity over the years, making your home the single biggest asset that you share with your spouse. It makes sense, then, that so many people are desperate to retain their home in a New York divorce.

Many people will start fighting for possession and occupancy of their home without considering whether they can truly afford the home on their own and if it will have negative emotional consequences to remain in the house they once shared with their former spouse.

Understanding the three most common ways that the courts handle houses during property division in a divorce where the home is shared marital property can help you make a more informed decision about what you ask for. 

Sometimes, one spouse will stay in the house

The outcome that many people seem to push for is one person retaining the marital home. However, this person generally won’t get to keep all of the equity in the home. Instead, they must buy out their former spouse, typically by refinancing and cashing out some of the equity in the property.

You’ll need to be able to secure a mortgage on your own in order to make the situation work for you. Without adequate income, you may have to consider letting your spouse keep the home or requesting a different solution.

Some spouses retain joint ownership of the house

There are circumstances in which former spouses may continue to share legal ownership of their former residence. Some parents engage in nesting, which involves the children staying in the marital home while each parent has a private residence outside. During parenting time, each individual parent will stay in the family home with the kids. The rest of the time, they live in their own space.

Spouses who don’t have children could also decide to continue joint ownership of their marital home, possibly because they want to rent it out or to hold onto it until the real estate market in their neighborhood is more favorable. 

Sometimes, couples sell the house and split the proceeds

In situations where neither spouse wants the house or neither spouse can afford the house, or where they have so little equity accrued that it doesn’t make sense to retain the property, the spouses may agree to sell the house or the courts may order them to.

After the sale, the spouses can then split the proceeds in accordance with the court order related to their assets. Figuring out which circumstance will be best for you can take some time, but it’s important to keep an open mind when planning for your future during a divorce.